Friday, 22 May 2009
How well does the British Broadcasting industry serve the public?
Any aspect of media is formed by a conjunction between audience and institution. Therefore the British Broadcasting industry finds many ways to give satisfaction to the UK public. Of course we have to consider public service broadcasters, whose original ideologies are primarily for the public's benefit the people of the UK. However in recent years it could be argued that these origninal ideologies have been lost. In this essay i shall debate and conclude how well the British Broadcasting industry serves the public.The BBC, the UK's leading broadcaster, was set up to "inform, educate and entertain" the people of the UK, and its illustrious and successful is evident of this. In the past they have ensured that they show quality programming catering for all audiences including minorities. The fact that it runs purely on a license fee funded by the public and not commercial income could instantly clarify their intentions. in it's history this license fee has been questioned, with minister's to one point demanding quality programming or the withdrawal of the universal fund. Programmes such as Eastenders have helped saved the fee, as well as the BBC's original purpose. However the new millenia has been the thorn in the BBC's side, particularly with the release of Digital TV. It's benefits are endless; we can now watch nearly any programme we want, whenever we want. BSkyB, or more recently Sky+ now mean we can create our own schedules, and even pause, rewind and fast forward live T.V. It questions the purpose of PSB's; why should we pay a license fee when we can subscrbe to a Sky or Virgin package with more choice, more for your money and more freedom? This is also evident with the rest of the public, as viewing figures state in the last month 41.6% of people engaged in "other t.v" compared to BBC1's 20.8%. Because of this, BBC has been recently focusing it's purpose on commercial success. Due to the competetive nature of modern broadcasting BBc have had to fight to ensure viewing figures, and this has unfourtanetly diminished the ideologies of the company. As well as this can we really claim that that the BBC still serves our needs? the Jonothan Ross/Russel Brand prank calls on Radio 2 really do question the quality of the BBC, and the overall need for PSB's.However, in defence of PSB's, there are some, such as Channel 4, that have gone to extreme extents to excite the public. Channel 4 are renowned for contorversial programming and their anarchy nature. The original owner John Issacs claimed he wanted the channel to "be judged for everything". Its had many positive impacts on television, spanning from documentaries to comedies and multi-cultural programming, it's clear that there was something for everyone. Their playful characteristics have been well recieved for young audiences, dating back to prorgrammes like "The Tube" based on youth culture to modern reality T.V shows like Big Brother, which has piorneered the channel's success in the noughties. It has always taken risks, and as well as this it has reflected the present times through its programming. Saturday Live shown in the 80's had a huge affect on the entertainment scene of the time, and through programmes like Brookside it has reflected the divisions in British society. And although controversies such as Minipops in the 80's, and the Big Brother racist incident involving Jade Goody have spurred absolute hatred for the channel, there is no denying it has always guaranteed excitement for the public. Although it can be argued that like the BBC, that Channel 4 in recent years has stopped taking risks in order to focus more on financial success.After close case studies on these two broadcasters, i believe that in the modern era PSB is becoming more and more irrelevant due to the existance of new technologies and the deterioation of the "Global Village" that T.V used to exist as. No longer do we watch T.V as a family, and the competition for financial success suggests PSB's do not really serve much purpose in the modern age. However it has not stopped them trying, and i think that they have always gone to extents to excite the public, whether that be on the specific guidlines of the BBC (to inform, to entertain) or the excitement Channel 4 presents to us. And i do claim that even recent programmes like Big Brother, have served the public's interests as they are so widely recieved. So as a whole, i conclude that PSB's have served the public brilliantly, and have never stopped exciting, suprising and pleasing the people of the UK. However with the digital switchover fast approaching, and money being the object, i do believe that PSB's will eventually become irrelevant to the public.